Harlan’s Lost Tooth

Harlan finally lost his first tooth. And then he lost his first lost tooth. Poor kid, but it does have a happy ending. His bottom front tooth had been hanging on by a thread for a while. In the meantime, his adult tooth was growing in behind it.

On Wednesday, I went to work, and got the dreaded call from his school. You always worry that you’re going to have to go and pick one of them up. But this call was to let me know that Harlan had lost his tooth (good news), and that he lost it by ramming his face into some other kid’s head in PE (bad news), and that he discovered he’d lost it when he found it in his mask (good news!).

When he got off the bus, he was so jazzed by his little green tooth necklace that he took it off and pried it open to get the tooth out of it. He showed it off to his little friends, and then we headed home from the bus stop. By the time we got in the house, the tooth was no longer in his little green box. We looked fruitlessly outside as he sobbed from grief and loss. I tried to pick up the living area to see if it had bounced out, but he wasn’t helping and I fussed at him for putting his toys away in a place that wasn’t away. More tears. I felt bad, but also was pretty sure we weren’t going to find that tooth.

After a bit, I was tidying another part of the house and told him that he needed to come put other stuff away. And he just crumpled and told me, “Some of us have feelings.” So I went and comforted him, and told him that it was good to have his feelings. Then I looked up, because we were sitting on the floor, and I saw the tooth! Next to the leg of the chair. I picked it up, and he checked it over to make sure it was really his tooth (Did it have a bit of blood? Yes. Was it sharp on one end? Also yes–the tooth checked out). Whew!

He was so relieved that he even took Porter’s advice, who had looked up laconically from his book to suggest that Harlan “Put it under you pillow now.” He was excited that the tooth fairy visited, and he immediately turned his dollar over to his savings account, so he wouldn’t lose it.

He was really trying hard to make good choices, until the next day, when he took the container of pennies off of Gilbert’s desk and took them to school. When asked about it, he sighed and said, “Well, I made another bad choice, so I’m going to go lay in my bed.” But we talked about how he could fix it, so he didn’t need to feel bad; instead, he could feel good about himself for correcting his bad choices with better actions.

It was a dramatic 24 hours.


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